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FHWA Home / Safety / The Use of Uniformed Police Officers - Table of Contents

The Use of Uniformed Police Officers - X. Recommendations

Report of Findings [FHWA Docket No. FHWA-1999-5387]

X. Recommendations

As a result of this study effort, the following actions are strongly suggested by FHWA.

  1. Agencies using Federal-aid highway funds to assign uniformed police officers to highway work zones should coordinate with state law enforcement agencies to develop written policies and guidelines addressing the following:
    • situations where uniformed police officers are recommended;
    • the work zone traffic control planning process; and
    • officer pay, work procedures, supervision, etc.

  2. Since federal regulations require the use of MUTCD signing and flagging procedures at Federal-aid highway construction work zones, FHWA recommends that police officers assigned to Federally funded highway work zones receive training in MUTCD procedures.

  3. The FHWA encourages agencies to gather data on traffic safety incidents at Federally funded highway work zones to better assess the effectiveness of work zone traffic control techniques. Few agencies track crashes, fatalities, and injuries in work zones separately and, those that do so, generally do not record the conditions at the site at the time of the crash, including whether an officer was present.

  4. FHWA further recommends that agencies consider using new traffic control technologies, such as automated enforcement and intrusion alarms, as well as uniformed police officers, to improve traffic safety at highway work zones.


Future research needed:

Absent quantified data such as crash or work zone statistics and analysis, indicate a need for a well-designed evaluation to determine the effectiveness of police officers in work zones. In addition to test sites where police officers are used, this evaluation should include comparable control sites where police officers are not used. A formal experimental plan should be developed that specifies the number of sites to be evaluated, the duration of the evaluation period, the statistical techniques to the used, and the accidents to types to consider. Traffic volumes on the test and control sites should be documented both before and after police officers are used.

Page last modified on October 15, 2014
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